Lost Lear


Who is it that can tell me who I am?
— King Lear, Act I Scene IV

A moving and darkly comic remix of Shakespeare’s play told from the point of view of Joy, a person with dementia, who is living in an old memory of rehearsing ‘King Lear’. Joy’s delicately maintained reality is upended by the arrival of her estranged son who, being cast as Cordelia, must find a way to speak his piece from within the limited role he’s given.

Using puppetry, projection and live video effects, the audience are landed in Joy’s world as layers of her past and present, fiction and reality, overlap and distort.

‘Lost Lear’ is a thought provoking meditation on theatre, artifice and the possibility of communicating across the chasms between us.

Reviews + Press

“Devastating stuff, deftly done…Colley is a theatre maker of remarkable imagination and insight” 
The Stage ★★★★★

“Brilliantly conceived and executed…a remarkable achievement” 
Irish Examiner ★★★★★ 

“Bravely visits painful places to tenderly illuminate them” 
The Arts Review ★★★★★

“In a role demanding a wide physical and emotional range…Bowe is remarkable”
Irish Mail on Sunday ★★★★


Lost Lear is co-produced by Riverbank Arts Centre and Mermaid Arts Centre. Funded by the Arts Council | An Chomhairle Ealaíon and supported by Fishamble: The New Play Company’s New Play Clinic and Abbey Theatre’s ENGINE ROOM

Preview: Riverbank Arts Centre, July 2022

Premiere: Dublin Theatre Festival, Sept 2022 in Project Arts Centre

Transfer: Mermaid Arts Centre, Oct 2022

80 mins


Joy Venetia Bowe
Conor Peter Daly
Liam Manus Halligan
Ensemble Clodagh O’Farrell & Em Ormonde

Written by Dan Colley, with the company, after Shakespeare
Directed by  Dan Colley
Produced by Matthew Smyth

Music Composition  Daniel McAuley
Set Design  Andrew Clancy
Lighting Design  Suzie Cummins
Costume Design  Cherie White
Sound Design  Kevin Gleeson
AV Design  Ross Ryder
Dramaturgy Gavin Kostick
Assistant Direction Joy Nesbitt

Stage Manager Evie McGuinness
Assistant Stage Manager Sarah Purcell
Chief LX Adrian Moylan
Chief AV Laura Rainsford
Production Manager Eoin Kilkenny
Graphic Designer Sarah Moloney
Lead image Photographer Pato Cassinoni
Production Photographer Ste Murray

Photos by Ste Murray